Skip to content

COVID travel requirements for African countries

Sept. 24, 2020
9 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor's Note

This post was updated with new information on September 28, 2020.</strong>

Editor's note: This post was updated with new information on September 28, 2020.

The list of countries around the world that are opening back up for Americans is rapidly expanding despite the growing cases in the United States. As we've been reporting, several African nations have already opened for U.S. tourists including Egypt and Rwanda. Now several more are either open or in the process of reopening. Here's what we know.

For more news on reopenings and other travel news, please subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Democratic Republic of Congo

COVID-19 test required: No

Other restrictions: 14-day quarantine on arrival, symptom screenings

What’s open: Most businesses and parks

Virunga National Park near Goma, on November 24, 2011. (STEVE TERILL/AFP via Getty Images)
Virunga National Park near Goma, on November 24, 2011. (STEVE TERILL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Democratic Republic of Congo is perhaps best known for the Virunga National Park home to the mountain gorilla. The country reopened its borders in August, and most businesses and schools are now open. Unfortunately, Virunga National Park is not set to open until 2021 according to a TPG reader. (I've reached out to the park for confirmation).

Visitors must undergo a health screening on arrival. Americans also need a visa to visit.

It does not appear any kind of test before arrival is required.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

You'll also have to quarantine for 14 days at your hotel or home. The U.S. embassy writes, "All international passengers are required to self-quarantine for two weeks in their residence or hotel for 14 days upon arrival. Passengers in transit will be quarantined at their expense at designated facilities until they resume their travels."

Egypt

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • 96 hours before departure
  • PCR test required
  • PCR test available upon arrival

Other restrictions: None

What’s Open: All tourist sites

A mask-clad camel guide rides a camel near the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) and Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) at the Giza Pyramids on July 1, 2020 (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)
A mask-clad camel guide rides a camel near the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) and Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) at the Giza Pyramids on July 1, 2020 (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP via Getty Images)

Related: Egypt reopening

Americans will need a tourist visa available on arrival or before arrival via online enrollment. There are no quarantine requirements though you will need a negative COVID-19 PCR test. The U.S. embassy says passengers coming from North America can have a test within 96 hours. You also have to have the physical test results. No digital documents are being accepted.

There is testing on arrival available at Hurghada (HRG), Sharm El Sheikh (SSH), Marsa Alam (RMF) and Taba (TCP) airports. Those tests are $30, but that's cheaper than in much of the U.S.

No quarantine is required for Americans.

Kenya

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • Within 96 hours of arrival
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: Businesses are open, but curfews are enforced

Nairobi National Park, Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)
Nairobi National Park, Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

Kenya has now reopened and Americans are allowed to enter. All visitors need a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours of arrival. They'll also face a health screening on arrival. Quarantine orders have been lifted.

According to the U.S. embassy, there is a curfew, "Nightly curfew hours are from 9:00 pm to 4:00 am."

Kenya requires foreign visitors to fill out forms here.

The State Department has a "level-3" advisory to "reconsider travel," because of coronavirus.

Namibia

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • 72 hours before departure
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Registration with the government, symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: Most tourist camps, facilities

Baby Desert Elephant at Watering Hole in Kunene Region of Namibia. (Photo by Cat Gennaro - Getty Images.)
Baby Desert Elephant at Watering Hole in Kunene Region of Namibia. (Photo by Cat Gennaro - Getty Images.)

Namibia reopened its international borders on Sept 1. All arriving tourists have to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Related: A safari in Namibia

Arriving visitors also have to stay at their first lodging for a period of one week. It has to be a government-approved hotel or camp, and arrivals must be registered with the government.

Tanzania

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • 72 hours before departure
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: All businesses and attractions

A plane takes off behind a clock tower in Zanzibar, Tanzania on August 27, 2018. Zanzibar meaning "land of the blacks" was established by Iranian immigrants. In history the Island was ruled by Portuguese, Omani and the British. Zanzibar Island carries the traces of African, Arabic, Indian and European civilisations with its culture and architecture. It's a remarkable trade point as having links to an important sea. It is also known to host Sultanate of Zanzibar. Fishers in Zanzibar go off Indian Ocean as many provide their livings from fishing. (Photo by Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A plane takes off behind a clock tower in Zanzibar, Tanzania on August 27, 2018. (Photo by Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Tanzania was among the first African nations to reopen to tourism. At first, tourists only had to undergo a health screening, but now all incoming travelers need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. There is no quarantine required according to the U.S. embassy.

Many tourists are required to have a visa.

Related: Dreaming of Tanzania

There is no curfew, and no quarantine is required.

Zambia

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • Within 14 days of arrival
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: All tourist sites, some businesses may keep limited hours

LUSAKA, Feb. 27, 2019 -- A tourist takes photos of the Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Feb. 25, 2019. The Victoria Falls has reached its peak season for tourism. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
A tourist takes photos of the Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Feb. 25, 2019. The Victoria Falls has reached its peak season for tourism. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)

Zambia is open to international travelers. The country is known as one of the top safari destinations in Africa and includes Victoria Falls.

Zambia now requires proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within two weeks of arrival. There are health screenings on arrival, and symptomatic visitors will be tested on arrival.

Travelers need a passport and a visa. The U.S. embassy suggests Americans are also now required to quarantine. You can apply for an e-visa online.

President Edgar Lungu said on September 11, 2020, that bars and schools would begin reopening with limited hours.

Keep in mind the U.S. State Department has a "level-3" advisory saying Americans should "reconsider travel," but no outright ban.

Zimbabwe 

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • Within 48 hours of arrival
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Possible quarantine or other screenings on arrival, details TBD

What’s open: All businesses and attractions

Seaplane flying over the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe. (Photo by De Agostini Editorial/Getty)
Seaplane flying over the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe. (Photo by De Agostini Editorial/Getty)

Zimbabwe Tourism confirmed that all tourist activities have resumed as of September, and Reuters reports that the country will begin accepting international flights on October 1. In a statement, the government said, “All travelers will be required to have a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognized facility within 48 hours from the date of departure.”

The country had been asking all arriving passengers to self-quarantine for 21 days though that request is expected to be lifted once the international border reopens.

The Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu told media outlets the country was also now allowing all attractions and businesses to reopen including the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Featured image by VW PICS/Universal Images Group v

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees